Guide for Victims of Sexual AssaultThe University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) seeks to provide a safe environment for all of its students, faculty, and staff. Sexual misconduct of any form is a violation of an individual's rights, is emotionally and physically traumatic, and is a violation of the UAB Non-Academic Student Code of Conduct. It is our goal to ensure that cases of sexual assault are dealt with appropriately and that all victims receive support and care. Sexual assault affects everyone, so this information is placed here so that you may reference it if needed. All members of the UAB community are encouraged to report any incident of sexual assault, sexual misconduct, or sexual harassment (see UAB Equal Opportunity and Discriminatory Harassment Policy).
As you begin the healing process, there are two points to remember—
- You do have choices.
- There are caring people who can help you.
What is Sexual Assault?
There are many legal definitions that vary from state to state. However, if anyone has committed a sexual act against you without your consent, you have been assaulted. (A person must be 16 years old or older to give legal consent.) The offense does not have to be committed by a stranger for it to be sexual assault or rape. Over 75% of rapes are committed by people who are known to the victim.
If you are Sexually Assaulted
- Go to a safe place.
- Seek prompt medical attention. A medical exam will provide necessary medical treatment and collect important evidence which could aid in criminal prosecution. A medical exam also helps to determine the risk of sexually transmitted diseases or pregnancy.
- Try to preserve all physical evidence. Do not bathe, douche, use the toilet, or change clothing.
- If oral contact took place, do not eat, drink liquids, smoke, or brush your teeth.
- Contact the police. On- or off-campus, call 911.
- Contact a friend, family member, or other support person to be with you.
In order to leave options open for criminal prosecution, it is recommended that you seek medical treatment and report the incident to the police. The important thing to note is that YOU HAVE THE CHOICE to pursue one or both of these options. The following information is outlined to help guide you through these procedures in case you make the decision to get medical treatment or report the incident to the police.
It is important to seek immediate and follow-up medical attention for sexual assault to determine the presence of physical injury, sexually transmitted diseases, or pregnancy, as well as obtain evidence to assist in criminal prosecution if you choose. Physical evidence should be collected immediately, ideally within the first 24 hours. However, it may be collected up to 72 hours after an assault.
Immediate Emergency Service
The specialized rape examination should be conducted within 72 hours of the assault. There are two service options for this exam: a hospital emergency room or the Sexual Assault Nurse Examiner (SANE) facility.
If you choose to go to a hospital emergency room:
The Emergency Room (ER) is an ideal choice if you are not medically stable, which includes being pregnant. If you are medically stable, the ER staff will send you to the SANE facility. In the ER, a nurse will conduct the majority of the exam, with a doctor conducting the pelvic exam. A SANE-trained nurse from the Crisis Center may be called to conduct the exam along with a Rape Response Advocate to provide emotional support for you. Hospital personnel will call Rape Response (323-7273) for you at your request. If you go to the ER, you will get a bill for the services provided. Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Commission (ACVCC) is a program designed to help cover expenses incurred by those who have been sexually assaulted (and victims of other violent crimes). You may fill out the appropriate ACVCC forms to be reimbursed for this cost.
If you choose to contact the SANE facility:
The SANE facility is an immediate, confidential, no-cost service in the Birmingham area. To get service from the SANE program, call Rape Response at 323-7273 to inform them that you need to come to the facility, and they will provide you with directions. They are available 24 hours a day/7 days a week. There will be no waiting in a waiting room, and the services are provided by a nurse who has specialized training in the care and treatment of sexual assault survivors. The forensic exam conducted at the SANE facility is paid by ACVCC. A police report is not required for this exam to be conducted.
The process can feel invasive, but it is recommended to evaluate your physical condition, as well as collect evidence that may be used in a criminal prosecution if you choose to report. If you choose not to report, the evidence can be held for a minimum of 30 days to give you time to evaluate what you would like to do.
The UAB Police are available to transport sexual assault victims to the hospital or the SANE facility if a friend or relative is not available. To arrange transportation, call the UAB Police dispatcher and indicate your need for emergency assistance (934-3535). If the incident occurred off-campus, the local police department will provide transportation for you.
Reporting the Incident
We encourage you to file a police report. Filing a report is different from pressing charges. A report puts the incident on record. There is no statute of limitation on the crime of rape. You may press charges at a later date if you choose.
It helps if the UAB Police are notified immediately at 934-3535 or 911. If you wish to report at a later date, call 934-4434. If you have not contacted the police by the time you arrive at the hospital or the SANE facility, you can ask hospital or SANE personnel to contact them for you.
Once an assault has been reported to the UAB Police, specific campus officials (Vice Provost for Student and Faculty Success, Assistant Vice President for Student Life, the Non-Academic Student Conduct Officer, and a Case Manager) will be notified for your protection and to help you identify your needs as a UAB student. If you live in campus housing, the Director of Housing will also be notified. Once again, they are notified for protection and support reasons only.
Reporting to the Police
- Protects you and others from future victimization.
- Assists in the investigation to apprehend the alleged assailant.
- Helps you maintain future options regarding criminal prosecution, university disciplinary action, and/or civil action against the perpetrator.
Choices of Judicial Action
As a student at UAB and a member of the community, you have several options available to you. You are not obligated to take any action, but it is recommended that you report the incident and seek support. You may choose any one or a combination of the following:
- UAB Non-Academic Student Conduct Action
- Criminal Charges
- Civil Suit
UAB Non-Academic Student Code of Conduct
The action taken by the University is separate and different from that taken by the judicial court system. The result of the court's investigation or decision does not necessarily influence the investigation or decision of the Non-Academic Student Conduct Officer. If you wish to file a conduct complaint through the University, contact the Assistant Vice-President for Student Life at 934-4175 or the Non-Academic Student Conduct Officer at 975-4412 (see the Non-Academic Student Conduct website for further explanation of the University's Non-Academic Student Conduct process). There are various formal or informal options available to you if the accused is UAB-affiliated.
Criminal Prosecution and/or Civil Suit
You are urged to report a sexual assault to the police. Reporting an incident does not mean you have to prosecute or continue with legal proceedings or university conduct action. Reporting does help you to maintain future options regarding criminal prosecution, university conduct action, and/or civil action against the perpetrator. If you choose to take action through the court system, a counselor from Rape Response is available to explain the specifics about the criminal and civil processes. Call 323-7273.
To report an incident:
Title IX Deputy Coordinator and Director of Student Engagement
Title IX Coordinator and Assistant Vice President for Student Life
Counseling and Emotional Support
A rape/sexual assault is a traumatic experience both physically and psychologically. It can be helpful in recovery to talk with someone about what you are experiencing. The following are support services available to you:
Student Health & Wellness Center
(Rape Counseling and Personal Counseling)
Monday-Thursday, 8 a.m.-5 p.m.; Friday, 8 a.m.-4:30 p.m.
Rape Response (24 hours): 323-7273
Crisis Center (24 hours): 323-7777
Family Violence Center (24 hours): 322-4878
The University is also concerned about the impact that sexual assault can have on your educational progress. If you need assistance with any aspect of your studies, please contact the Assistant Vice President of Student Life at 934-4175 or the Student Engagement Case Manager at 975-9509.
The Rights of Victims
- The right to have all judicial proceedings remain confidential.
- The right to be treated with dignity and compassion.
- The right to information on available Sexual Assault counseling.
- The right to know all options available and the steps involved in the judicial process and/or the University's non-academic student conduct process.
- The right to have a person of your choice, such as a counselor or victim's advocate, present for emotional support throughout the judicial proceedings and/or non-academic student conduct proceedings.
- The right to know the results of the judicial proceedings.
- Emergency: 911
- UAB Police: 911 or 934-3535
- Birmingham Police: 911
- Jefferson County: 325-1450
- Rape Response (24 hour hotline & SANE facility): 323-7273
- UAB Hospital ER: 934-5105
Counseling and Emotional Support
- UAB Counseling & Wellness Center: 934-3581
- Rape Response (24 hours): 323-7273
- Crisis Center (24 hours): 323-7777
- Family Violence Center (24 hours): 322-4878
Student Life Offices
- Assistant Vice President for Student Life: 934-4175
- Non-Academic Student Conduct Officer: 975-4412
- Student Engagement Case Manager: 975-9509
- District Attorney (Criminal): 325-5252 or 325-5260
- Legal Services (Civil): 325-3540
- Alabama Crime Victims Compensation Commission: 800-541-9388